By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
No pick yet on administrator
Placeholder Image
MONROE - The Common Council still has not chosen an administrator even after more than three hours of closed door meetings Wednesday with department heads individually, conducting second interviews and discussing various aspects of the new city administrator position.

Rex Ewald, Monroe, and James Mogen, Rice, Minn., again met with the council. Ewald's second interview lasted about a 30 minutes, while Mogen's lasted about 15 minutes.

Both were called back in to meet with the council separately for a few minutes at about 8:15 p.m.

Ewald left city hall immediately after being called back in.

When Mogen came out of the meeting room, he said the council was not making a decision Wednesday.

When the council returned to open session, aldermen took no action, except to adjourn.

Salary and Personnel Committee Chairman Mark Coplien would not comment on the meeting, or predict the council's next move.

The next time the council or committee might meet for further consideration on filling the new position might be next week, he said.

"Maybe ... I don't know. I don't know. We've got some things we've got to work out yet," Coplien said.

The council first talked to department heads separately to discuss their opinions of the candidates.

Ewald and Mogen are the final two of six candidates considered for the position.

On Oct. 29, Mayor Ron Marsh announced that Ewald and Mogen were the final two candidates. Finalist James Gitz, a former mayor of Freeport, had been eliminated.

Candidates for the position needed a juris doctor degree from an accredited law school, five years of legal experience with three in municipal law, and to be a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association. The city administrator will be required to write policies, ordinances, resolutions, contracts and agreements, and other legal documents, as well as provide litigation, prosecution and other legal services for the city. Human Resources duties, including overseeing all personnel matters, remain in the job description.

Common Council met July 29 to discuss, for the first time, creating a new administrative position by placing city attorney responsibilities in the job description.

As city attorney, Ewald played a role in suggesting the added attorney responsibilities to the council, and describing the benefits to the city.

The meeting originally was set to discuss the job description of a position for a human resources person with added responsibilities in economic development and financial oversight, as proposed by Coplien.

At previous Salary and Personnel Committee meetings, members had emphasized human resource functions for the position, which had been vacant since May 2008.

Department heads informed council members by memo July 20 that a full-time administrator with previous municipal experience would be best for the city if aldermen were going to move forward with hiring someone.

The city first created a city administrator position in November 2005.

The committee also chose a hiring firm to help fill the position, and then began advertising the position in early December 2005. Five finalists for the position were interviewed during the last week in February, 2006. Mark Vahlsing was hired March 8, 2006, and started his job April 25, 2006.

Vahlsing left the position May 15, 2008, in agreement with council members, after a former confidential administrative assistant, Janelle Bittner, filed a discrimination complaint with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, May 1, 2008. Bittner alleged Vahlsing made sexual advances toward her and forced her to quit because she complained. The case was settled out of court through the city's insurance company.